July 1, 2010
Eternally Green: New Eco-Friendly Cremations And Burials
People who care about improving the environment in life may soon be able to do so after death. Entrepreneurs in Europe have developed two new and unusual methods of body disposal "” including a low-heat cremation method and a corpse compost method that turns bodies into soil "” that could provide environmentally friendly alternatives to those now in use. That's the topic of an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.
C&EN Associate Editor Sarah Everts notes that environmentally minded individuals have several concerns about cremation and burial practices. The high temperature of cremation burns up lots of fuel and releases carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Cremation also releases mercury from dental fillings into the air. Some worry that formaldehyde and other toxic substances that undertakers use to prepare bodies for burial can leach into the environment.
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